Personal transformation is hard! Yet if you want to create something new in your life or achieve different results, you need to get comfortable with change, as it is the only constant in our fast-paced life.
On my journey to becoming an online entrepreneur, I underwent a transformation on 2 different levels: hard skills and mindset.
You can learn all about acquiring new hard skills here. Further, I will talk about mindset changes that had to happen for me and were a bit hard to implement. Some of them I am still struggling a bit with.
- External authority problem
Throughout my life, I got used to being given tasks to complete and results to achieve by outside forces - my life’s authority. I had to prove myself and be accountable to parents, teachers, and bosses. Therefore, when those figures were out of my life, and I had the freedom to do what I wanted, how I wanted, I surprisingly realized that it was hard to be accountable to myself. It was harder to keep commitments to myself, and I wasn’t meeting my own deadlines. I examined the situations where I could break a promise to myself, but I would keep it to others. And that got me confused. Why was I putting someone else on the pedestal of my own life? It was a pattern formed by repetition and eventually became an unconscious habit standing in the way of my progress, so it had to go.
I had to make myself the ultimate authority in my life, the only authority I had to be accountable to. That meant my opinion of myself and what I do is the only opinion that matters. It’s tricky because I always thought I respected myself enough. Still, after discovering that belief, I had to reexamine my relationship with myself and put myself on the throne of my life. That was challenging and took time to shape new neural pathways. It is also about psychological maturity, many of us grew up, but not many took full responsibility for our lives, where we are setting the direction. You have to be the grownup in your own life if you want to live the life of your dreams as an online entrepreneur.
There are many opinions on where it comes from and why. After doing some research, explanations that make sense to me are that our brains like to keep the status quo and are reluctant to do something that requires a lot of effort and that the brain does not know how to do.
I had to learn many new skills, particularly technical ones, which were slow, frustrating, and uncomfortable. Of course, watching series, eating, and being on social media is way more familiar, easy, and pleasant. So sometimes, my brain would win. And then, I would criticize myself for procrastination. And that was awful! So my solution was - to stop criticizing myself first.
Either way, if you have a problem - you need to solve it, but it will be more difficult if you beat yourself up along the way. I forbade myself to criticize myself. Every time I procrastinate and catch myself on it, I return to the thought that I am the authority (and author) of my life, so I eventually come back to my tasks without mentally and emotionally abusing myself. (this also requires long-term practice, mainly if you are used to not being nice to yourself). Long-term change requires long-term actions that are impossible to produce if you are not at peace with yourself.
- Getting organized
Personally, I tend to be somewhat disorganized, do not particularly like rigid structures, and am more on the spontaneous side. I usually have great ideas but don’t like to put effort into their practical realization (I intensely dislike excel tables! and making presentations:)
In an office environment, you have to pull yourself together because that is the game, but when you are the boss – and there are no urgent meetings with the colleagues, no boss to report to. It’s easy only to do what you like and not go into unpleasant necessary tasks.
Suppose you want to achieve/ build something new. In that case, you can’t avoid discipline and need to get organized and implement some kind of structure in your work process because you need to put in hours of work, be it technical stuff or content creation, to deliver results. Consistent work is impossible without a plan, and the plan requires structure. I had to be honest, admit it, and get organized.
- Instagram (Input the name of your favorite social media, Netflix, video games, whatever makes you waste time)
It has to do partly with procrastination but also with an easy way to get dopamine and the algorithms designed to keep your attention as long as possible.
My solution was to delete the app, but it only lasted 3 days since I needed to learn some stuff through Instagram courses and communicate with a friend who lives in another country.
A more practical solution turned out to be – leaving my phone outside the room I work in (aka eliminate temptations). Plus, implementing Pomodoro Technique (where you set the timer for 25 minutes, during which you work without distractions, then rest for 5 minutes. You may play with time intervals according to your preferences).
- Realizing my value
The next personal challenge was coming to terms with my self-worth and understanding my value in this world, what I stand for and what kind of impact I want to make.
People tend to downgrade their achievements and consider themselves “nothing special”. It took me a long time to realize that there is no one like me on this planet with my unique gifts, experiences, and perspective.
All we ever have to share with this world is ourselves and our unique, authentic expression. I believe we are all connected and influence each other. There probably are people on similar journeys as me. Maybe they are slightly behind, so my insights and struggles can be relatable, help them overcome their difficulties, and perhaps inspire them to keep going. The world needs every one of us in our great authenticity. Remember that the next time you hear or think you are nothing special.
Inevitably there will be days when you feel discouraged because the online entrepreneurship journey takes time, and results are not immediately apparent. That’s where consistency comes in. You may refer to Japanese wisdom, Kaizen, which states that big goals can be broken into small, approachable steps. Another thing that comes to mind is “eating an elephant one bite at a time” (forgive me, vegans and animal lovers). It’s also essential to keep your goal in mind. I start every day by reviewing my goals; it helps to refocus and ensures that I make that little step forward that day.
- Radical responsibility
Nothing is anybody’s fault but yours! Your life is your fault! We do not like to hear that, but all BS aside, it is true. You are the only person 100% responsible for all the results in your life, no exceptions. I am still learning it because I have a slight tendency to blame my husband J or situations for something that at first glance seems out of my control, but internalizing this concept influences how you live and work and what results you get.
- Maintaining rest, keeping balance
Sometimes I would get so obsessed with my goal that I would spend hours in front of a computer, believing that I would achieve results faster that way. That led to emotional burndown. So I had to make sure that I remembered that I had started the online business to improve the quality of my life, and I can’t take a path that feels bad toward a better life. So I set the rule that I would find enjoyment/pleasure in everything I do and take breaks too because the body needs exercise and can’t stay long in one position.This takes personal commitment.
Meditation always helps me to unwind, take a walk, or even do 20 squats or read 20 pages of a book- anything that allows you to pause working mode and shift to internal balance (you have to find your efficient way). In my experience, TV, social media, and online games provide a “low-quality” rest that won’t rejuvenate you, whereas reading, sports, and exposure to nature allow you to reset internally.
Not confidence, but faith and trust in my abilities. There are times I feel discouraged. It’s hard when you are on a long-term journey with no guarantees and no direct pathway to your final destination. So faith comes into place here. You have to believe YOU CAN, keep moving and keep trying new things when the old ones do not work! It may be challenging and take time, but you can do it. It may seem not very easy, but it only seems so. You have to be your greatest cheerleader!
That was not the complete list of challenges, there are many more, but those are the ones that took the most effort out of me that showed up when I decided to become an online entrepreneur. As we all know, life is a journey, not a destination. As you keep developing and overcoming challenges, new ones will arise. That’s the fun of it 🙂